After many years of abandoning a very old tried and trusted formula in the wrestling, the WWE appear to have brought back the art of the 'squash match'.
For any novice wrestling fan out there, that essentially means that a big, powerful superstar will run through a 'jobber' - or local enhancement talent - to showcase their strengths.
The opponent delivers little to no offence and is not typically actually signed to the company. These type of bouts faded over the past few years, though, as it appeared fans wanted to see stiffer competition and high-octane fights.
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They've made a comeback since Raw and Smackdown LIVE broke off into separate brands, with Braun Strowman and Nia Jax being the primary beneficiaries.
Triple H - the mastermind behind NXT and current right-hand man to Vince McMahon behind the scenes - spoke with KC Joyner of ESPN to help launch the site's new WWE subsection and he detailed why these type of matches are important to the product.
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“Enhancement matches on the shows, to me, are designed to get personalities over," Triple H said. "It’s designed for one guy to go out there — yeah, he beats up another guy, but what was he doing while he was doing that? He was establishing his moves, so I see what this guy does and see the kind of a style in which he wrestles? But if he just goes out there and just does a few moves with no personality and no charisma, I still don’t care about him. I just know he’s better than the other guy, who didn’t look like he was very good in the first place.
“We’re resetting Braun Strowman. We’re resetting who he is, and resetting his character and his personality so that you can learn more about him and feel for him. It’s the same thing with Nia Jax and any of these characters that we do those things with.”
The Game also offered some insight into how he presents NXT to the audience and what has made that brand so successful.
“When I write NXT, I never go, ‘I just need to get so and so a match,’ and give them an enhancement match. It’s not what I want to do. I give it to them so I can see a different part of his personality. If I give [Shinsuke] Nakamura an enhancement match in NXT at this point, it’s so I can get the entertainment side of him out that I can’t get if he’s out there and he’s going to wrestle Samoa Joe. I want to see a different side of him, so I give him something that he can do that different side in and show me that personality.”
Do you believe there is value in squash matches? Let us know below.
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